This winter term, I taught at York for the first time. Since coming to AMPD in the summer of 2019, I have engaged with many parts of our School, but not this most fundamental and important part. Teaching after a few years away has been a great pleasure for me as well as an important reminder of how hard it can be sometimes. I’m grateful to my theatre students for their patience as I reacquaint myself with a new syllabus and the nuances of eClass. Keeping up with our innovative students is always a challenge, but one that I have been very happy to rediscover.

I also continue to learn from our alumni. Tom Graham (Visual Arts ’75) recently shared a series of satiric postcards that he created about the Centre for Fine Arts, now the Joan and Martin Goldfarb CFA. I traveled to York alumni events in Hong Kong, Singapore and Seoul, where I learned about the range of creative activities that our alumni are leading around the world. Whether contributing to the future of performing arts design in Hong Kong, fine arts education, or advancing global brands such as Adidas and Canada Goose, York alumni are passionate about their work in the arts and design.

Our alumni are an inspiration, so keep sharing your stories! With nearly 20,000 AMPD alumni around the world, your histories and accomplishments pave the way for the next generation of students. Some of these accomplishments will be featured in the upcoming 2022-23 AMPD Annual Report. Stay tuned!

One of the most important things that we can teach our students – and ourselves – is how to keep on learning both within and beyond the classroom. This is one of the great pleasures of serving as Dean of AMPD. Every day, I learn from our students, faculty, alumni, staff, community partners and distinguished guests. As we celebrate the many special events in York University’s Year of the Arts this year, we all have the opportunity to learn not only from each other but from leading international artists.

In just the last few months, we have welcomed multi-Grammy award winner and Honorary Doctorate recipient, Terri Lyne Carrington as the Oscar Peterson artist-in-residence. Writer, producer and performer Carolyn Taylor delivered the Wendy Michener lecture and Meryl McMaster presented at the McMichael as part of the Goldfarb Lecture Series in Visual Art and Art History. Acclaimed designer and social innovator, Liz Ogbu worked with our graduate students in Design.

We were also proud to host alumnus Vinay Virmani (BA ’08), producer of the acclaimed film Black Ice, with Oscar-nominated Hubert Davis for a special screening of the film at York. I also had the chance to talk with noted alumnus, Brendan Fernandes (BFA ’02), about his career in arts for the Final Mile Club podcast.

Of course, back on campus, it has been a great year of learning together. Returning fully to our classrooms, studios, theatres, labs, and performance venues this year reminds us of the amazing opportunities and people that we have at York. Being able to live and learn more fully with each other is a real gift and in all our programs, we are making the most of our time together. As we near the end of term, I look forward to celebrating the great learning that our students and faculty have achieved this year and planning for what we will do together.

I hope that wherever you read this that you, too, are finding great opportunities to learn and to share new ideas with others. Thank you for your continued support of AMPD and I look forward to learning from you in the years to come.



Legacy Giving…to create brighter futures!

Deborah Spicer (BA’74), a former journalist, fondly remembers her time as a Theatre and English student at York University. Like many, Deborah was the first in her family to attend university and, for her, it was an experience like no other. From traveling abroad for a theatre tour in London, England, to volunteering for student clubs, Deborah did it all.

When writing her Will, Deborah decided she wanted to give back by leaving a future legacy gift towards student awards. She hopes future students will receive the same opportunities she did, without any barriers to access. In Deborah’s words, “My bequest to York University is an expression of gratitude for the doors that York opened for me.” We invite you to read Deborah’s full story .

Many York alumni and donors include a legacy gift in their Will to support AMPD.  These special gifts allow you to invest in AMPD’s future students while preserving wealth for yourself, your loved ones while taking care of your immediate and future needs.

If you may be interested in learning more about this way of giving to support AMPD, or if you’d like to share your York story, please let us know. I’d be happy to set up a quick 20-minute phone conversation with you, at your convenience. To begin creating your York AMPD legacy, get in touch with us for a confidential discussion to explore your options. We are here to help you set up a gift in the most meaningful, tax-efficient way. Informing us of your intentions helps ensure that we will be able to accept and use your gift according to your wishes. Your generosity will be celebrated and recognized today since you will be welcomed as a special member of York’s White Rose Legacy Circle.

As always, our most sincere thanks for your support. If you have any questions about giving to AMPD, please contact Len Milley at or 647-285-5712.

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Len Milley

Len Milley
Associate Director, Advancement

AMPD student AJ Lawrence joins history making internship with CBC and HBO Max dramedy “Sort Of”

How CBC’s Sort Of implemented its trans mentorship program BY ANGELICA BABIERA AND ORIGINALLY POSTED ON PLAYBACK ONLINE Co-creators Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo discuss using the program, created in …

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April 3, 2023

Alum Abraham Oghobase joins MoMA’s distinguished Forum on Contemporary Photography

AMPD alum Abraham Oghobase (MFA 2022) joins The Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) distinguished Forum on Contemporary Photography, Decentering the Document, in New York City on April 19, 2023. Oghobase …

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March 28, 2023

Dance students highlight human resilience in ‘Convergence’

York Dances 2023: Convergence features new choreographic works of 27 third-year BFA majors performed by students engaged in all levels of York’s programs in dance. In addition to steering their own …

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March 15, 2023

45+ AMPD alums nominated for Canadian Screen Awards

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television nominated over 45 York University School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design (AMPD) alums for Canadian Screen Awards across more than 30 …

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March 15, 2023

Jenna Phoa and Kat Khan on their latest project, GAY MEAN GIRLS

Article by Sydney Ewert for Excalibur. Featuring two York alumni in leading roles, Jenna Phoa and Kat Khan, GAY MEAN GIRLS premiered their second season on Feb. 24 on Youtube. GAY MEAN GIRLS explores …

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March 14, 2023

Alum Lenka Lichtenberg wins 2023 JUNO Award for global music album “Thieves of Dreams”

Lenka Lichtenberg AMPD music alum Lenka Lichtenberg (MA ’93) took home the 2023 Juno Awards for Global Music Album Of The Year with her latest album, Thieves of Dreams, at the …

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February 20, 2023

Ysabel Garcia, Emerging dance artist and photographer presents at PROTOTYPE

Ysabel Garcia is a fourth-year student earning a double major in dance choreography and performance, and law and society. Garcia was first introduced to photography through a class at her …

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January 30, 2023

Grad student Collette Murray earns two awards for work advancing diasporic dance styles

A York University graduate program assistant and doctoral student was named among six recipients of the 2022 Women Who Rock Awards and one of six changemakers for racial equity as …

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January 24, 2023

Royal Canadian Mint selects alum Lily Kao to design minted Year of the Rabbit coin

Alum Lily Kao The Royal Canadian Mint marked the lunar new year with AMPD alum Lily Kao’s (BDes ‘14) new 1 oz. pure silver coin design in honour of the …

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January 10, 2023

Sort Of Talking About Comedy, Career, and School With York Alum, Fab Filippo

York alumni, Fab Filippo, has much to celebrate as the second season of his and Bilal Baig’s original CBC sitcom, Sort Of, receives even more praise and critical acclaim than the …

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Jazz virtuoso Terri Lyne Carrington this year’s Oscar Peterson Artist-in-Residence at York University

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April 4, 2023

Cinespace Studios Toronto and York University create Production Accounting Micro-Credential program 

The first-of-its-kind curriculum supports Ontario’s screen industry infrastructure through targeted training. Cinespace Studios and York University announced the creation of a Production Accounting Micro-Credential program in response to a growing …

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March 20, 2023

AMPD dancers star in Toronto premiere of acclaimed show ‘Colossus’

Described as a tribute to collective humanity and the range of emotions inspired by existing alongside others, Colossus explores the delicate balance between intimacy and explosive expressivity and asks important questions …

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February 24, 2023

AMPD hosts Women in the Arts Roundtable for International Women’s Day

York University School of the Arts, Media Performance and Design (AMPD) Dean, Dr. Sarah Bay-Cheng, sits down with York alumni Amanda Cordner  (Actor, HBO Max’s Sort Of), Laura Friedmann (Producer, …

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February 10, 2023

Word, Sound, Power annual celebration shines spotlight on Black artists

On February 8, Members of the York University community congregated on campus to celebrate Black artistic talent with Word, Sound, Power: An Annual Celebration of Black Artistic Expression. The Jean …

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February 8, 2023

World-Renowned Bayanihan Dance Company to perform at York’s Dance Showcase

Pamela Corales and Leo Lorilla, two core dancers from the Bayanihan: the National Dance Company of the Philippines, will perform at the York’s Annual Dance Showcase, “Cardinal Points,” on February …

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February 1, 2023

‘Black Ice’ director, producer join Black History Month screening at York

‘Black Ice’ director, producer join Black History Month screening at York Oscar-nominated director Hubert Davis and Vinay Virmani (BA 2008), film producer and York alum, will attend a special screening and …

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AMPD ranked among top 100 in the world for Performing Arts

York University’s high-quality academic programming continues to position the institution as a leader in post-secondary education and drive positive change to right the future, both nationally and internationally, according to …

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April 14, 2023

AMPD faculty take home top honours at 2023 York University Research Awards

The York University Research Awards Celebration recognizes the outstanding achievements of York’s esteemed faculty members – from all faculties and schools – and in areas including artificial intelligence, Black scholarship, …

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April 5, 2023

Tim Whiten wins big with the the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts and Gershon Iskowitz Prize

A Torontonian is one of six artists to win a prestigious award for his contributions to Canada’s arts community. The Canada Council for the Arts revealed the 2023 recipients of …

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April 3, 2023

Mary Bunch joins York research delegation in leading water security panel at UN Water Conference

A York delegation headed to New York City in early March to bring their research expertise to the UN 2023 Water Conference. The delegates lead a panel discussion on water security …

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February 23, 2023

The Government of Canada invests nearly $4M to support mental health of creative arts, design students  

AMPD to receive $200,000 over three years to adapt and implement mindfulness practices for students, faculty and staff.   On February 21, the Public Health Agency of Canada announced the …

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February 12, 2023

Mary Fogarty releases first Hip Hop dance anthology published by an academic press

Professor Mary Fogarty released the first Hip Hop dance anthology published by an academic press with The Oxford Handbook of Hip Hop Dance Studies, co-edited by Imani Kai Johnson. Engaging …

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February 3, 2023

Antoine Damiens’ new book examines COVID-19 response from international film festivals

Damiens’ new book, Rethinking Film Festivals in the Pandemic Era and After, which is available for free in various electronic formats, examines how COVID-19 impacts film festivals by disrupting industry …

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Gihozo Nicole Ndayishimye

Remembering Gihozo Nicole Ndayishimye

Earlier this year, we mourned the loss of our student Gihozo Nicole Ndayishimye. Nicole was a vibrant, creative and enthusiastic student in her first year of the BFA in Integrative Arts. Although Nicole had just begun her studies at York, her professors observed that her writing was thoughtful and demonstrated creative aspirations with a strong sense of community. She would no doubt have been a great contributor to Integrative Arts and AMPD. We join her family and friends in mourning her loss and continue to remember her among the students of AMPD in 2022-2023.